Characteristics of a Maltipoo

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Maltipoos are the charming Maltese mix dogs that result from pairing a Maltese with a toy poodle. They may end up with either the poodle's curly hair, the Maltese's straight, long hair or something sort of in-between. Maltipoos can be a multitude of colors, from white to black or even multi-colored, often called particolored. Like most cross breeds, Maltipoos often have the best traits of each parent and fewer of the health problems that either parent is prone to having.

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Physical Maltipoo characteristics

Weighing between 5 and 20 pounds at most, and standing between 8 and 14 inches high, Maltipoos are considered to be toy-sized. A dog's height is measured from the floor to the withers, which is the top of the shoulder blades. The Maltipoo's size depends upon whether its poodle parent was a toy poodle, which is the smallest dog size, or the slightly larger miniature poodle. They can take on any of the poodle colors, but since they are mated with the always white Maltese, Maltipoos' colors are more muted than poodle colors.

Among the Maltipoo's characteristics is that they are known for not shedding much at all, since both of their parents are considered nonshedding dogs, too. Many people who are allergic to dogs seem to be able to tolerate Maltipoos well. It should be noted, though, that people with allergies to dogs are allergic to a dog's dander and saliva, which all dogs have, so there is no truly hypoallergenic dog.

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Maltipoo traits and temperament

Maltipoos are known for their pleasant temperaments. They like to play and go for walks, making them a family-friendly choice. They may be better for a family with older children, however, because young children could be too rough for them, especially when the dogs are puppies and so small. The same is true if you bring a Maltipoo into a household with other pets; take care to teach the older and larger pets to be gentle with your tiny Maltipoo.

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Although Maltipoos like to play and go outside, they should not be left outside for long periods of time. They are more inside than outside dogs, and they can become too cold because of their small size. Maltipoos also like to be with people, especially their people. When you go inside, they want to go with you. If you're going to read or watch TV, they want to snuggle on your lap, not be left outside alone or with the kids.

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Maltipoos' health and concerns

Since Maltipoos are a crossbreed, they tend to be less prone to the health issues that their parents' breeds could have. Still, you can't be sure what your Maltipoo will inherit, so it's wise to know what to watch out for. The good news is that from the Maltese parent, Maltipoos should inherit overall hardiness and vigor that can be surprising for such a small dog. They have few health problems, but a luxating patella, or dislocating kneecap, is a more common one for many toy dogs. If you notice your dog not using one leg while running, and then later running normally, it could be the kneecap dislocating and then popping back in. This can require surgery, so see your vet when you notice this pattern.

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Miniature and toy poodles, one of which was the other parent, can suffer from Legg-Calve-Perthes, a degenerative disease that causes deterioration of the hip joint in small and toy dogs. It typically shows itself when the dog is between three and 18 months old. Keeping your toy dog at an appropriate weight can keep this from occurring. Poodles are also subject to several eye diseases, which can cause blurred vision and even blindness, so ask your vet if any signs of eye disease are present.

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Caring for your Maltipoo

One of the best ways you can keep your Maltipoo healthy is by serving nutritious, appropriate dog food, and in the amount suggested by your veterinarian, to keep the dog from becoming overweight. This is true for all dog breeds of all sizes, but the smaller the dog, the easier it is to become too heavy and even obese. Many veterinarians have strong opinions about what food to feed, so follow their advice. If you want to feed a dog "people food," research which food is good for dogs, as many are not and some are even toxic. Never give your dog sweet desserts or fatty food.

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Maltipoos may not shed, but they still have a lot of hair that needs to be brushed almost daily to keep it from getting matted and harboring dirt and debris. It need not be an ordeal; a quick brushing every day and a thorough brushing weekly will probably suffice. They should have a bath once a month, and check them all over at that time for fleas, ticks or any other troubling signs. If you brush them regularly, they probably only need grooming twice a year, but the hair around their eyes will need a monthly trim so they can see. Trim their nails when you start to hear them clicking on the floor, which could be as often as twice a month.

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